India’s first NFC solution provider: aTuch
You don’t usually expect a technology startup to take birth at a golf course. Well, make an exception. A techie working on an idea met the business guy a couple of times for a game of golf where he bounced off the idea and a skype call later, the idea was on! The technology we’re talking about is NFC (Near Field Communication). Multiple technologies have been vying for the preferred close range technology but we’re far from getting a clear winner (here is a comparison between QR codes, NFC and Transfer Jet).
aTuch is India’s first Near Field Communication (NFC) solution provider (Taggito is based out of Spain) that creates smart posters and cloud based applications/solutions for businesses to create efficiency and effectiveness in their day-to-day operations. With a goal of making businesses smarter, aTuch has created a new NFC based Customer Loyalty Application for retailers. This application is an end-to-end cloud solution and is currently being piloted at retailer stores in Mumbai. Here’s how the application works:
“Near Field Communication (NFC) has been around for quite sometime but never took off. However, with penetration of smart phones, easy access to internet and people wanting to get information fast and in an hassle free manner, it just feels like everything is now falling in place to make the best use of this technology. People walking around with NFC devices can tap to get more information, make payments, get coupons or even program their car to automatically start.” says Gagan. Adding to this, he mentions, “Now couple the above with Mobile and you can have 'n' number of applications that can be developed to serve the consumers who is looking for most relevant data, product or service. We are keen on getting closer to the consumer and laying platforms for marketers to serve them in the best possible way.”
Founded by Alok Patel and Gagan Hayer, the duo form a strong techie and business combination. Alok, based in CA, US, has had an experience of working with Sun Microsystems and Oracle and he manages all the technology for aTuch while Gagan who’s an MBA from University of San Fransico manages business development. Gagan, in his previous avatars has been an analyst at QuinStreet and has also had experience of starting up. Having showcased aTuch at the NFC India Summit in May 2012, aTuch has the first mover advantage when one talks about the Indian market.
Customer Acquisition and the Revenue model
" The NFC India Summit gave us a good platform to announce ourselves in the Indian Market. We have focussed on Product development since then. While doing this, we also opened an E-Store to sell NFC Tags and will soon start selling other NFC related products like NFC readers. Making tags readily available particularly helps us encourage other developers to build applications based on NFC and thereby help build the entire ecosystem for NFC," says Gagan about the marketing. Also, aTuch is currently running a pilot with a few retailers in Mumbai.
Since its very early days, aTuch is still exploring various options for generating revenue currently. “Some of the traditional loyalty program providers have a high set up fees and a monthly fees (which is also high) as per use. This restricts small to medium sized businesses to run a loyalty program. Then, there are other cloud based products which work on subscription model which could also work well our offering. We want to be in a position where retailers can quickly set up their loyalty program within minutes, so we will have to work out a model which works best for both parties.” informs Gagan.
With a strong belief that NFC Technology has a lot of useful applications in the real world and with a focus on connecting the offline and online worlds with the help of this technology, aTuch has entered the close range technology field. Stay tuned to know how they make progress.